So you’ve found your perfect sterling silver piece and are obsessed with it. Or you stumbled upon this blog and are obsessed with silver. Regardless of your reasoning, you are here with the main question – how do I care for my sterling silver jewelry?
Sterling silver is one of the most popular materials for making jewelry and at the same time one of the most neglected. Why? One simple answer: fading.
Sterling silver tarnishes when oxygen or sulfur comes into contact with the silver itself. They then chemically bond and the silver begins to appear dirty or discolored. That’s why cleaning your sterling silver jewelry is an essential part of keeping your statement pieces sparkling and making them timeless. There are several factors to consider before cleaning sterling silver at home.
We have created a complete guide to cleaning sterling silver jewelry for you. We talk about the types of sterling silver, its benefits, what causes it to tarnish, preventive care, how to clean sterling silver at home, and more. So here are the questions that we touched on in our article:
- What is sterling silver jewelry?
- Why does silver tarnish?
- What are the options for preventive care?
- How to clean silver at home?
- What are the benefits of sterling silver?
WHAT IS STERLING SILVER JEWELRY?
At its core, sterling silver is a combination of metal types. If you’re into Moon Magic jewelry, you’ve already seen the hallmark 925 on the clasp of your ring or necklace. This number indicates the amount of silver in the item.
Sterling silver, also known as 925 sterling silver, is approximately 92.5% silver (Ag) and 7.5% copper (Cu). Regardless of the other 7.5%, 925 will always remain the standard for 92.5% purity.
“Sterling silver is extremely versatile and available in a huge range of styles. So whether you’re looking for something elegant and classy or you prefer a cute and playful look, you’re sure to find the right sterling silver piece.”
PURE SILVER VS 925 STERLING SILVER
Fun fact: there is a number system when it comes to silver. These numbers indicate the purity of the metal. Pure silver contains 99.9% elemental silver, while sterling silver contains additional metals for strength.
Naturally, silver is a very soft material, so the purer it is, the more malleable the silver is. The more malleable it is, the more likely it is to fade. Therefore, 950 sterling silver will bend more easily and tarnish faster than 925 sterling silver.
HOW CAN I KNOW IF MY SILVER JEWELRY IS GENUINE?
Typically, the inside of a ring or necklace clasp is stamped 925. Other markings include variations of the word sterling stamped in inconspicuous places such as the back of the pendant or inside the strap. If you can’t find any markings, here are a few other options:
TAKE TO THE JEWELER
An easy way to check the authenticity of your silver jewelry is to take it to a jeweler. Their loupe or magnifying glass may reveal a stamp or hallmark that is not visible to the naked eye.
DO A MAGNETIC TEST
Silver and other precious metals (such as gold) are not magnetic. To determine the authenticity, all you need to do is hold the magnet near your silver accessory. If the jewelry is attracted to the magnet, then it is a fake.
RUB YOUR JEWELRY WITH A WHITE CLOTH
As silver ages, it oxidizes, which means that areas of the piece become darker. For this test, take a white and clean cloth. Then massage a small area of silver jewelry with it. If you find black spots, rejoice because your jewelry is real.
DO A SMELL TEST
If your silver jewelry smells like brass or copper, then the plot twist is fake. 925 sterling silver is odorless.
WHY IS SILVER DIM?
Tarnishing occurs when interacting with molecules and sulfur. Most 925 sterling silver contains 7.5% copper. When copper is exposed to oxygen, salt, and moisture, it causes discoloration. Burning fossil fuels also darkens silver. Keep reading to find out how to clean sterling silver.
WHAT ARE PREVENTIVE CARE OPTIONS?
Caring for your sterling silver jewelry is critical to its longevity. Below are the following tips:
WEAR JEWELRY FREQUENTLY
Believe it or not, you can avoid sterling silver tarnish by wearing jewelry frequently. The oils in your skin will clean the silver and make it look shiny.
Between wears, wipe down your jewelry and make sure it is completely dry before storing it.
There’s a reason many women (and men) follow the best practice of dressing with jewelry as the finishing touch. To keep silver jewelry clean of life impurities, you need to stay away from several substances:
SUBSTANCES CONTAINING SULFUR
Sulfur is the bane of silver’s existence. Why? Because it is one of the main causes of tarnishing and corrosion.
When using or interacting with the following substances, do not use sterling silver jewelry: mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, onions, latex and wool.
During household chores such as washing dishes, laundry, or any other occasion involving cleaning products, it is best to remove jewelry. These chemicals can weaken the luster of silver.
Another list of sterling silver jewelry’s big enemies includes cosmetics, lotions, hair sprays, hair products, and perfumes. These products accelerate fading. When applying these products, it is important to make sure they have taken root before putting on the jewelry.
Any outdoor activity – whether it’s the gym, contact sports, gardening or swimming – can damage your jewelry. During these steps, it’s best to make sure your jewelry is removed, dried, and placed in airtight storage.
Humidity and sunlight are also harmful to sterling silver.
STORAGE IS KEY
Exposure to air tarnishes the silver. It is important to store silver in individual sealed plastic bags. Links or chain bracelets must be undone or undone so that there are no scratches. As mentioned above, humidity is also bad, so make sure your storage has low humidity.
Another option for storing jewelry is a sealed box with a soft fabric lining for individual jewelry.